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Editorial Reviews. From Publishers Weekly. Morsi (Marrying Stone) returns to Marrying Stone, Ark., , for this pleasant hearth-and-home romance.
Table of contents
- The Little Virtues - Essays
- Simple Jess
- Simple Jess - Tales from Marrying Stone
- Audio Editions
- Simple Jess (Marrying Stone, book 2) by Pamela Morsi
Magical touches dance like highlights over the brilliance of this fairy tale about passion, gambling, madness, and androgynous ecstasy.
Lucy's ambitious father, Sir William Ashton, then bought the Ravenswood estate. Edgar hates Sir William for this usurpation of his family's heritage, but on meeting Lucy, falls in love with her, and renounces his plans for vengeance. The novel considered as the first historical novel in the western tradition.
The book became so popular that Scott's later novels were advertised as being 'by the author of Waverley'. His series of works on similar themes written during the same period have become collectively known as the 'Waverley Novels'. Amidst the season's splendour, fiercely independent Beatrice Nash arrives in the coastal town of Rye to fill a teaching position at the local grammar school. There she is taken under the wing of formidable matriarch Agatha Kent, who, along with her charming nephews, tries her best to welcome Beatrice to a place that remains stubbornly resistant to the idea of female teachers.
But just as Beatrice comes alive to the beauty of the Sussex landscape, and the colourful characters that populate Rye, the perfect summer is about to end. For the unimaginable is coming — and soon the limits of progress, and the old ways, will be tested as this small town goes to war.
The Little Virtues - Essays
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I have so many questions. What an awesome read. I feel in love with all of the characters even that awful, no good terrible Eban where my people come from, we say Evan, just sayin'. The world building, if we can call it that, is flat out pure brilliant. I totally got a feel fo Simple becomes stunningly attractive Well hell, romance is fantasy, right? Read the book, you'll see what I am saying.
Be forewarned, colloquialisms abound. You had better love em. Our heroine, Althea, is awesome. She's strong at her core and she's doing everything she can to make a life on the mountain - this mountain thing, it's a big deal for her son and herself. And she'd like to do it alone. Till she realizes that's just totally unrealistic.
Did I mention that she's awesome? Just thought I would let you know that, again. In case you missed it. And our dearest Simple Jess. He's beautiful, and loving, and strong, and smart get back with your bad self and he learns. And he acts like a father without even knowing or perhaps he does Hell, I don't know what to say about him.
You have to read him to get it. So, please, do read him. Warning - Eban's a shit. He's terrible to women. There is a single scene that is rapey.
And in truth, I skipped over most of his story line. He's one of Althea's suitors, FYI. So there you have it. My total, nonsensical review. I really loved this story and I am learning to read more historical than just medieval and regency thanks to you. PS my true rating is a 4. View all 6 comments. So let the rage-fest begin. He intends to marry for money and plans to cheat on his bride even before she says yes.
He bullies just about every character he's been on one page with. He has no problem manipulating, lying and pressuring people to get what he wants. He's lazy, rises at noon in a place where everyone rises at dawn , doesn't work, has a drinking problem. She has no personality and we hardly get to know anything about her besides hair-color and a tendency to be a doormat. Eben took Mavis' virginity and left her. She begged him to stay, he didn't.
Years later he came back, started calling her a whore and trying to make her cry. Battles her love for him. Agrees to be 'his whore', begs him. WTF is this people. Not only that, these two supposedly get a 'happily ever after' and marry. Gosh, I do not envy Mavis. What kind of a marriage can it possibly be? And can we stop with the bullshit trope of "girl quietly takes all the physical and verbal abuse and that makes the guy fall in love with her" please? And all this bullshit about how the guy is actually secretly in love with her while treating her like dirt?
And the bullshit about mind-blowing sex with someone one despises. Stop painting being a doormat as a valid strategy for building romantic relationships and gaining true love. It doesn't work like that. I just can't stand this shit. Worst of all, it didn't even need to be in the book. This is not the main storyline. To be fair, any amount of space for this shit would be too much space for me. Also, they supposedly leisurely fucked outside, on the ground in December.
What happened to the weather? Where did the snow suddenly go and how did the "tall grass" spontaneously spring up? It's about as un-progressive and less-than-civilized as you can get. I felt like the author did a fair job of making the story and characters true to the time and setting, even when it's hard to digest for a modern reader. Even a married couple can't survive without the occasional help of the community.
So one person cannot really go against their family or the society These details were nearly unpalatable to me, but they really made sense for that era and setting, so good job author. I just loved him completely. Could anyone help it? I had no trouble getting through it quickly, I was interested in the story and invested in the events. Even though I didn't particularly like Althea, I really felt for her in that court scene and wanted to punch everyone except Jesse in the face. She wants to against the community, live her life her own way and asks her in-laws to butt out, yet she can't fend for herself and has absolutely no plans on how to achieve that.
She just stubbornly refuses, not investing any time or thought into getting a semblance of independence. You can't really be all bitchy to the people on whom your livelihood depends. Luckily for her, she finds Jesse. But what if she didn't? Althea mentioned this once, but she's guilty of taking Jesse for granted too. I wish she would have shown more care and gratitude toward him instead if just thinking about it once.
Althea tries to boss everyone around, but everyone just pretty much tells her to fuck off. He feels privileged just to be able to work for her and be near her. So when he says: Miss Althea, if you'll marry up with me, I promise to listen to you in the things I don't know about. Work for you 'til my back is broke and my fingers is down to the bone.
Simple Jess - Tales from Marrying Stone
And love and care for you until the day I die. Please don't work too hard and hurt yourself. Thank you, thank you, thank you". It just felt like she was happy to have plenty of free labor and a person who will take being bossed around with zero complaints. Also, she never really apologized to him for being a massive bitch to him that time.
Her side of the romance was just I think there was so much wasted potential here. I would have loooooved to read about their relationship evolving, their marriage, the way they would work through the challenges. Instead, the relationship is sort of in the background, slowly cooking, until the couple gets together and it's finished. The most interesting stuff was left after "The End". Of course, we hear in speak that he's "simple-minded". But did the author have an actual condition in mind? He seems to have trouble focusing sometimes, retrieving things from memory, following a group conversation, building a chain of logical reasoning.
But Jesse seems to be able to overcome these challenges if he "tries very hard" and doesn't seem to fail. Is this a romanticised description, or did Jesse and his family really learn to manage the limitations so well? Is it even possible? So what makes him "simple-minded" exactly? How does it manifest? Every time Jesse's opinions seem weird to others, it later becomes apparent that he was actually right, and everyone else was a prejudiced, discriminating asshole who mistrusted Jesse for no reason. But no one can be right all the time. But we never see that in the book. So we sort of never get the feel of the challenges he or people close to him might experience.
It would have been interesting to explore. Especially in a romantic relationship. How does one navigate the intricate balance between valuing your partner's opinion and limiting potential damage caused by their illness? How does one separate the illness from the partner and maintain respect and partnership, while having to take the reigns some of the time? All of these questions and even the possibility of such situations are completely ignored. There's also emphasis on Jesse's condition not being hereditary. But how did mountain people know that? Who diagnosed it and found the cause?
Was this even something people would have thought about at the time, at that level of knowledge about brain damage? Every adult in the book has to dance around this slightly spoiled 4-year old brat and constantly say what a "great child" he is. He's an average child. My guess is that Althea just can't get over him and everyone else humors her.
Though it had the unrealized potential of being mind-blowinly good. I reaaaaaally wanted more Jesse in the story. Oct 11, Marquise rated it did not like it Shelves: The plot of this novel gave me vibes of Colleen McCullough's Tim , which also has the same love story between a young man with mental disability and an older woman who falls for him whilst he performs manual labour for her.
But unlike the Australian's book, I wasn't drawn in by these characters in the least. That was poorly done, and it doesn't help that Morsi perhaps unintentionally infantilises Jess more than once with stuff like the candy and the emphasis on the childishness of some of his traits. And as for Althea, the heroine, she is better written, but not much in her stands out as compelling. View all 14 comments. Nov 12, Jennifer Leighton rated it it was amazing Shelves: Jan 13, Robin rated it it was amazing Shelves: Widow Althea Winsloe has vowed that she will not marry again.
She has devoted her life to her young son, Baby-Paisley, and wants to ensure that he will inherit his late father's farm. But Althea knows she can't survive the winter on her own. When Jesse Best hears that she is willing to sell her husband's hunting dogs, he makes an offer for a dog. Althea offers him the whole pack if Simple Jess will do some work around the farm. Jess is a big strong man who suffered some brain damage when he was Widow Althea Winsloe has vowed that she will not marry again.
Jess is a big strong man who suffered some brain damage when he was born. He is slow to learn but eventually accomplishes what he wants to do. When the families on the mountain insist that Althea marry and give her son a father, they put forth two suitors and tell her she has to marry one of them by Christmas.
Will she pick Eben Baxley or Oather Phillips? Or will she pick the man she has come to rely on? If you're looking for a unique story with a historical setting, this is a good one. Althea is a strong heroine who will do anything to make sure her son will inherit the farm. But the story is all about Simple Jess. He knows he is different but doesn't let his disability stop him. He wants to someday marry and have children. The setting of this story is wonderful. The characters are fantastic, including Althea's two suitors. At first I hated Eben Baxley, but he did redeem himself a bit toward the end of the book.
Oather was another wonderful character with a lot of family problems. I wish Pamela Morsi would write two more books featuring these characters. View all 4 comments. Well, this was certainly an original romance plot. Nov 19, Leona rated it liked it Shelves: A very well written historical, but I could have done without all the gruesome details of gutting and skinning deer and the slaughtering of hogs. Definitely not recommended for vegetarians. As a romance, I was touched by the purity of their love but, felt uneasy with the inequality of the relationship.
Dec 08, Kiki marked it as dnf Shelves: He treats Althea like his whore until the second last page of the book I cheated as I have thrown up a lot by a certain point! I think Pamela Morsi is just not for me! Aug 18, Mimi Smith rated it it was amazing Shelves: Althea appreciates their concern but she doesn't intend to follow anyone's advice on how to live her life after the death of her husband.
She plans to take care of her farm and her boy, and everything else can go to hell. But when the citizens of Marrying Stone make an ultimatum She picks a husband so, or they'll do it for her, she will have some hard choices ahead. Simple Jess is, as his name says, simple. But that doesn't make him 5 stars The summary Truly, well-meaning neighbors can be a pest. But that doesn't make him any less capable. In exchange for great hunting dogs, he'll help out Miss Althea with her farm. Not that he wouldn't help anyway. Miss Althea is nice, and she smells good, and her son is mighty fine.
And so affection happens. And love, in the most unlikely place. My take One note first: I don't know enough about medicine, psychology or biology to know whether Jesse's condition was authentically written and true to form. But, I loved him anyway. I admire Pamela Morsi for this book. Especially, of course, for a hero like Jesse.
It isn't easy to portray such a man and to keep his behaviour and thoughts on par the whole time. And she did not slip. Jesse was constant and amazing. I love his often logical train of thoughts.
The way he doesn't know some general truths, yet does his best to figure it out is charming: But he didn't know how someone could lose his mind. Jesse's mind didn't work very well, but he'd never lost it. Making Jesse lovable, in a way that made readers want to cuddle and keep him safe, was much easier than also making him a hero of this book. Meaning he would also have to be seen as a man who's in love, who's desirable and great husband material.
So, basically, I loved Jesse. I loved everything about him, and I felt for him so much. He made this book amazing and unforgettable, and in that way reminds me of Ian McKenzie. So, I won't praise any more, I'll leave the readers to discover further wonders of Simple Jess. I'll just leave you with his sister Merry's words: In some ways harder than other men, because things in this world don't come easy to Jesse. He is good and fair to everyone that he meets, That isn't something that comes any more natural to him than it does to you and me. I don't believe, as some will say, that he's touched by angel spirits or not all of this earth.
I believe he is every bit as human and as fraught with human frailties as the rest of us. He is not special or favored or a better man than others you'll meet, but he is every bit as good as any. I am proud to call him my brother. And I would be just as proud to have a son or daughter who was like him. It's not that she was a bad heroine, she was okay. Great actually, since seeing, really seeing Jesse is not easy, and it takes special kind of woman to marry him.
I also like her relationship with her son and her strength of spirit. But she was overshadowed by Jesse here, at least in my mind. What else, what else Well a lot to say here. They were way too pushy and annoying sometimes, but they're all so unique, it was nice seeing glimpses of their lives and and characters.
I even ended up liking Eben and Oather, and those interfering grandmothers. Live and learn, right? Mar 18, Denise rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: This is my first read from this author and it certainly will not be my last! I found out this book follows Marrying Stone after I was more than half way through. It did not matter at all, thankfully the author manages to keep out all the back-story of the previous book so Simple Jess can be read as a stand alone. Althea is a young widow with a small son.
Her mother-in-law and the "Granny" of the mountain community are pressuring her to re-marry. She has a farm that is envied and 4 of the best This is my first read from this author and it certainly will not be my last! She has a farm that is envied and 4 of the best hunting dogs and they feel this is all going to waste. The MIL, wants her to marry within her family to keep the farm within her family. She did not have a happy marriage and was abandoned by her father when he remarried. She gets a lot of flack from everyone on how she should be raising her son.
Althea just wants to be left alone to raise her son in her own way without a husband trying to control her. He is called Simple Jess by the Ozark mountain community where he lives, made up primarily of two families. Real mountain folks in every sense of the word.
He is simple minded due to a birth defect caused by the cord being wrapped too tightly at birth. He is slow, but he is just sweet and wonderful! The community treats him as if he has no feelings at all, but he does, lots of feelings and thoughts. He just does not have a mean or spiteful bone in his body, he is honest to a fault. He finds out Althea is going to be selling her hunting dogs, and he wants one very badly.
There are three goals he has 1. To own a hunting dog. They strike up a deal, he can have all of the dogs if he helps her to prepare for the winter. After getting to know both Jess and Althea, you really want to see them together. There is a first kiss, initiated by Jesse, and you just want to sigh and cry at the same time. After a town get together, they force Althea by way of a Kangaroo court to choose a husband.
Her choices are laid out to her, Eben Baxley and Oather Phillips. She has 3 weeks, until Christmas to make up her mind. Without being historied to death, we get to know quite a few characters in this story and even come to care for and understand the antagonists. This one is going in my re-read pile!! View all 3 comments. I can see why this book earned five stars. Well, not really, but I can see why parts of the book resonated so much that it earned five stars. Althea drove me nuts when she actually had to take time to consider her choice between Oather and Eben.
Oather showed up early to help her work on the farm and was respectful and polite. Eben showed up at noon and demanded breakfast. But Althea was charmed because he gave her son a present. Instead, Eben got a lame secondary HEA. He was despicable toward her and then during a blackmail sexual encounter her magic hoo-ha made him see the error of his ways and he started being a nicer guy.
When the story focused on Jesse and Althea interacting I was happy, but there were too many scenes dealing with the townsfolk, and especially Eben, that pulled me out of my groove. Nov 28, Lema rated it really liked it Shelves: This touching story told in multiple POVs definitely struck a cord with me, I flew through it and could not put it down. As you can tell, my favorite person to read from was Jesse, his views of everything happening around him, [3.
As you can tell, my favorite person to read from was Jesse, his views of everything happening around him, of his relationship with other people, and of his own affliction are simply fascinating and sometimes bordering on the heartbreaking. Guns were very dangerous and a man had to be very careful. Jesse was a man, he reminded himself. He could remember to be careful. Now that I look back, whenever Jess was not present I simply glossed over the pages.
This is such a sweet story. I had my reservations, thinking certain aspects might get kind of creepy, but Jesse's "simplicity" is really not as big a deal as certain people make it out to be. He's just a little slower than most due to mild brain damage. He knows right from wrong, he clearly has his own thoughts and feelings, he's able to love and protect others. In many ways that become glaringly evident throughout the book, he's smarter than most everyone else around him.
Inde This is such a sweet story. Indeed, Althea was the character that made me lament this book a bit.
Simple Jess (Marrying Stone, book 2) by Pamela Morsi
Her character could have been so much better had she just shown some backbone when it really mattered. She was perfectly willing to get into screaming matches with others regarding anything pertaining to her , but when Eben got out of hand and downright cruel with Jesse, she just sat there ho-humming about it. It made me want to slap her. Thankfully she came to her senses. But if she'd been a better character, this might have gotten five stars out of me.
However, there's also the issue of a lot of conflict. The aggression and mistrust is nearly palpable and can be a bit daunting to read. Still, it's a sweet love story with a good message, and I enjoyed it. I really enjoyed the first book in this series,. But as much as I loved reading about Meggie and Roe, Jess really stole the show for me.
Simple Jess was a beautiful and sweet story. Simple Jess takes place a few years after the first story. Miss Althea, a minor character from the first book, is now a widow and single mom. The community is trying to get her to remarry. I enjoyed the I really enjoyed the first book in this series,. How could you not fall for Jess? This was a delightful read! Honestly, there are so many wrong things in this story, so many little disappointments that could've been done differently, making it -for me- a much rewarding experience.
I'll start with the biggest disappointment: Look, I get it: Jesse is different from them, and if having a disability today is hard, we can imagine how harder it must've been at the beginning of the twentieth century. Still, I thought that everyone in this book not only acted in a way that could be defined as offensive today, but also mocked, made fun of and belittled him, more than "necessary". By that I mean that they not only remarked from time to time how slow and unmanly Jesse was when in actuality, he was basically described as being like a Greek god , but often called him names right in front of him and ignored his opinions only because of his peculiar condition.
And if it's true that I expected it from those who didn't know him well, I couldn't understand why his love interest, Althea, would sometimes be like that with him, too. Not only that, but in one particularly sad and shocking part of the book, she slapped him in the face, hurting his lip, without even listening to his explanation. That was more painful than all the other people's humiliation because it gave me the impression that she somehow felt justified in being physically abusive toward him by the fact that he was a "feebleminded idiot". The whole scene played like a terrible betrayal from the woman he already loved, because all he ever did for her was respecting and adoring both her and her child.
It actually made me tear up a little. Add to that the fact that she called him "Simple Jess" way more than simply by his name. It was irritating, to say the least. The second disappointment was the attention the book paid to a couple of secondary characters: I'll only say that they reconciled after he attempted to "rage-fuck" but I'd simply call it rape her in order to teach her a lesson.
Lesson she clearly didn't learn, because not only she forgave him, but also proceeded to have actual sex with him, right afterward. I'll just say it: I couldn't care less if they ended up together, Eben was petty, resentful and narrow-minded and I wished he died, rather than having his happily ever after. He got not only that, instead, but also a sex scene that was in fact longer and way more graphic than necessary compared to that of the actual protagonists! What was the saving grace then? What a wonderful character he was! I loved him, loved every kind gesture and word he had for everyone, the fierce love and protection he showed to and for his family.
I loved him when he didn't know how to defend himself or Althea, but tried nonetheless. He was perfect to me. The kind of man I'd have fought for. He didn't get that, but rather someone who saw how sweet and attractive he was, and that left a bad taste in my mouth. Beautifully written heart wrenching story!! Complex, believable and lovable chatacers. Interesting unique plot, with no lulls I read this in one day non-stop.
This is a sweet romance that takes place in the early in the mountains in Arkansas? The story centers around Althea a widow who is pressured and inevitably forced to remarry. The plot sounds hokey when summarized but it is anything but. Without retelling the story I found that what I really liked is the powerful underlying message Beautifully written heart wrenching story!! Without retelling the story I found that what I really liked is the powerful underlying messages about accepting those who are different, and about being who you are.
I must say that I absolutely loved Jesse, and there were so many times my heart was truly breaking for him. I don't have much else to say except I loved it.. However, being nit-picky I did find a small issue with Baby-Paisley who is supposed to be 3. Now maybe children back then had to grow up faster, or matured faster or maybe I just forgot how 3 years old behave and speak, but it seemed to me that the child was portrayed a little older in his actions and dialogue, like about 4 or 5, I could be wrong.
There are also some inconsistancies.. I was however not terribly bothered by it Maybe I missed something? Both are written well but not are not blazing. Appropriate is the best way to describe it. I definatelly would recommend this one and plan to read more of this authors works. View all 8 comments. Aug 28, Kathie katmom rated it it was amazing Shelves: This was a sweet book with a Hero that has NO experience whatsoever.
Jesse is "simple" having been born with a cord around his neck. He is a big man, a sweet man, a hardworking man He likes to stand next to them at church or the once a month Literary Meetings. Women just smell so darn good. Althea is a widow with a young boy and the best corn bottom land around. The village decides she HAS to get married, or they will choose a husband for her themselves. There is much maneuvering for position by her in-laws, who want to keep the property in their own hands.
If that's a trigger for you, you should knows it's coming. I came to like Jesse and Althea very much. Now I want more of these virgin heroes! I just re-read this one. He was worth reading a second time! Jun 25, Gilgamesha rated it it was ok. Aug 31, Mandapanda rated it really liked it Shelves: I found this book in one of those 'Best Romance of All Time' type blogposts. Normally American-set historical romance with the cliched cowboys is not my fave but the hero's intellectual handicap appealed to me. It is set in the early days of rural settlement and in a very poor area where folk live simple lives.
This book is sweet and fascinating at the same time. Not only did I like the romance between the main character I found this book in one of those 'Best Romance of All Time' type blogposts. Not only did I like the romance between the main characters but I loved what the author did with Althea's two other rival suitors. This is very low steam and old-fashioned but still very readable today. Thanks to Emilie for the lend. I seem to recollect I actually already read this one in the past, but it's so unique and adorable that I'm glad I accidentally read it again!
Watch my video review. Simple Jess - Pamela Morsi - 5 stars 1 17 Oct 28, She broke into publishing in with Heaven Sent and has been gracing readers with at least a book a year ever since. Her books are famous for their wit, humor, memorable characters, and down-home charm. Other books in the series. Marrying Stone 4 books.